Can History Sell Your Home?
If there’s one thing that the UK is teeming with – it’s history! From Hadrian’s Wall in the north to Stonehenge in the south, our history reaches back thousands of years.
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It’s something that we as a people have embraced, with local and national museums springing up across the country; previously private stately homes thrown open to the public and even private residences given a sneaky badge of honour in the form of a fancy blue plaque.
If you own an older property – is it worth capitalising on this interest to make a profit?
The Blue Seal of Approval
So far confined to London (with 34 exceptions across the rest of the country), English Heritage’s blue plaque scheme shows where important people from history lived and worked, adding a dash of interest to your daily commute or evening stroll.
The scheme is over 150 years old and the first of its kind, inspiring similar plaques across the world. But does the seal of English Heritage approval actually add anything to your home?
Well, no, unfortunately not! There is no financial gain in owning a property with a prestigious blue plaque. It won’t add a penny to your rental yield or resale value.
However, these properties tend to be in desirable areas – famous people past really did know how to pick up-and-coming neighbourhoods! Whether it’s the plethora of plaques in Westminster – thank you Alan Turing and Jimi Hendrix! – or the generous scattering in Camden – the stomping grounds of George Orwell and Charles Dickens – it’s likely you’ve already lucked out when it comes to location, location, location.
But the blue plaque does have its own kind of value and that’s in desirability. A blue plaque will mark your property out as a real des-res and you should definitely add it to your property advert! You are likely to get higher foot traffic, as people will want to nosy inside the home of a long-dead poet or politician, so you will have to filter out the real interested parties and the nosy parkers!
Strange though it may seem, the interest in the paranormal is on the rise. Ghost hunting shows are taking over our TVs and many historical landmarks share their ghost stories as part of their marketing drives. Did you know the ghosts of Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard both supposedly haunt Hampton Court Palace? The possibility of running into two of his wives, one of whom he had executed, is probably why Henry VIII’s ghost steers well clear.
So while it may seem strange, it is worth considering sharing your property’s ghostly history. At any time, there are thousands of properties on the market, so it’s a way to stand out from the competition in a truly unique way.
Something we always see on the news throughout Spooky Season (or ‘October’, for the uninitiated) are various establishments clamouring to be named the ‘Most Haunted’. Whether used to encourage people in for a quick pint in the most haunted pub in Britain or for a fun weekend in an eerie B&B, you’d be surprised how popular spooky stays are.
If your property doesn’t boast its own Casper, you can look a little further afield. Is your property in an area famed for ghostly activity? Are you on the route of a well known ghost walk?
While quirks like this might put some buyers or tenants off, it will grab the attention of others!
So, should you promote this?
You won’t be shocked to hear that none of these things have any real financial value. Perhaps you’ll strike lucky and a tenant or buyer will be so keen to own someone’s old home or Casper’s favourite hangout that they’ll offer over the asking price. But it’s unlikely to really turn into cold, hard cash.
But in a busy market, any way you can stand out is great! While you can get amazing photos and slick copy, we highly recommend utilising anything you can think of to grab the attention of the casual browser. Just keep it positive!